Sanders and Clinton Offer Cannabis Clarity and Confusion

Both candidates exaggerate marijuana's role in mass incarceration.



Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, agree that people should not be sentenced to prison for smoking pot. But that does not happen under current law, except for rare cases involving repeat offenders. In my latest Forbes column, I explain how exaggerating marijuana's role in mass incarceration confuses the public about what is actually wrong with pot prohibition:

During the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont, became the first major-party candidate to endorse marijuana legalization. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, by contrast, stuck with a wait-and-see position, saying, "I think that we have the opportunity through the states that are pursuing recreational marijuana to find out a lot more than we know today." But both candidates seemed confused about marijuana's role in the war on drugs and its contribution to this country's world-beating incarceration rate.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. But that does not happen under current law, except for rare cases involving repeat offenders.

    And they likely know that. Not because they’re paying attention but because the handlers who craft via focus group their policy talking points told them this was a no-cost bone that could be tossed to justice reform voters.

  2. What’s wrong with pot prohibition is that it is not authorized under the US Constitution.


      Ohhhhh – it’s soooo cute when you all reference some 100 year old document written by white slaveholders. As if THAT has anything to do with governing!

      HAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAA! Ohhhhh my – good one…

  3. It is beyond absurd that police in this country continue to arrest about 700,000 people a year for growing, selling, or (mainly) possessing something you can openly and legally buy in Denver or Seattle.

    Something something Tenth Amendment.

  4. Pot is going to end up just like alcohol. It won’t lead to any real drug reform in the long run.

    1. Um, while not perfect, treating it like alcohol would be an enormous improvement. At least you won’t be risking a 5 year prison sentence for carrying a joint in your pocket.

  5. The dirty little secret that the Democrats don’t want to admit is that the harsh gun laws they support contribute just as much if not more to our massive incarceration rate. Prosecutors routinely seek enhanced sentences for people caught with drugs because they happened to be carrying a gun. For example, Sharanda Jones is serving a life sentence with no parole for a first time drug offense because she carried a gun while trafficking drugs.

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